Honors PreCalculus Guidelines

Clark Magnet High School (2019 - 2020)                                                                 Course Title:  Honors Precalculus

Instructor:  Amir Ghavam                             email:  aghavam@gusd.net         Website:  aghavam.educatorpages.com






Course Description


This course is extremely challenging.  It consists of two courses:  Trigonometry and Calculus A.  It requires a high level of discipline, dedication, and rigor in order for the students to be successful.  The course is based on utilizing critical reasoning, logical thinking, and sensible problem-solving skills.  Although the course starts as a review of the material learned in the previous courses, students ought to treat it as a serious undertaking. 


IMPORTANT:  Students are required to read each section in the Textbook, once ahead of the class meeting for exposure and familiarity, and once after the class meeting for in-depth comprehension.  Failure to do so will undermine the students’ level of comprehension.


One of the main intentions of this course is to train students and develop their skills that are necessary for the AP math courses and the AP math exams they will undertake in the future.  This course requires that students provide clear and concise step-by-step reasoning for their work – as required on the AP math exams – NOT just the final answers.  The step-by-step reasoning is absolutely critical to demonstrate the critical thinking required for each problem. 

These steps often involve – but are not limited to – the identification of all the given information; the determination of the methodology and tools/formulas required to solve the problem; the arrival at the possible answer(s); and the verification of the accuracy and validity of each answer.  Furthermore, you need to be able to explain all of these to someone else in an understandable manner.


Recommended Material


Students are responsible to bring ALL material (except the 3-ring binder) to EVERY class meeting:


  • Homework Notebook (a 3-ring binder; NO spiral notebook)*
  • Lined paper and Graph paper
  • A straightedge/ruler
  • Pencils and Erasers
  • Color Pens (NO red color)
  • Few Highlighters (preferably lighter colors)
  • A non-graphing** Scientific calculator
  • NO Messaging calculators***
  • Any other material needed from time-to-time


*     You may organize your binder, with 4-5 tabs, as follows:

      Handouts; Lecture Notes; Homework; Homework Corrections; Lined and Graph Paper


**  Students are NOT allowed to use Graphing calculators, on quizzes/tests.


***  Students are NOT allowed to possess Messaging calculators at ANYTIME in my class; especially during quizzes/tests.  Possession of such calculators will result in an automatic zero on assignments and assessments.


Homework Policy


  • Homework is extremely important.  If you expect to pass this class, you must attempt each homework question assigned and you must do them constantly, consistently, orderly, neatly, and with special care and attention to detail. 
  • You are expected to follow the homework format as explained on a separate handout, in this packet.  You must do homework for COMPREHENSION, NOT just COMPLETION!
  • Homework will be collected, at random, AFTER it has been reviewed in class.  Usually two problems will be checked at random.  You can usually earn from zero to 10 points. 
  • If you have an excused absence for the day that I collected homework, it is YOUR responsibility to remember to turn your homework to me, anytime up to and including the beginning of the next session, or you will get a zero.
  • You must check the answers for the odd-numbered questions assigned, in the back of your textbook, before you come to class.  The answers for the even-numbered questions assigned will be shared with you, at the beginning of the next class meeting, when the assignment is due.  You must make all the necessary corrections, on your paper, at that time.
  • Additional (Common-Core) Homework may be assigned for various numbers of points.
  • For each chapter/unit, you are required to bring ALL of the homework assignments to class until (and including) the day of the test for that chapter/unit.  After the test, you may transfer the material to your 3-ring binder for future reference.
  • You must keep ALL related material organized, in your binder, until the end of the course, in case of announced notebook checks.  (i.e., Do NOT throw away anything, unless I have told you to do so)
  • If you are absent for any reason, it is YOUR responsibility to check with a classmate for the homework assignment that is due the following meeting as well as any other material, announcements, etc. that you might have missed.
  • You are required to exchange name and contact information with at least two of your classmates:


Name:                                                                    Phone Number:                                              


Name:                                                                    Phone Number:                                              




  • Cognitive research has shown that multitasking, while studying, does NOT work.  If you are distracted by your cell phone, social media (Snapchat, FaceTime, Skype, Instagram, Tweets, Facebook, etc.), or any other unrelated activities while doing your homework or studying, you are sabotaging your own education and setting yourself up for failure.  While I am NOT against social media, I am a very strong opponent of multitasking or anything else that divides students’ attention and causes distraction, while studying!
  • Be advised that I am fully aware of the various websites and phone Apps that are available for students to use and copy answer to homework questions.  Copying answers from other sources does NOT constitute as studying!  If you use any of those websites or Apps, to get the answers for your homework assignments, you need to understand that you will most probably NOT pass this course with a favorable grade, regardless of how much you wish or hope.  It is that simple!



Grading Policy


IMPORTANT:  Your grade is STRICTLY based on YOUR PERFORMANCE in this course, NOT on your good intentions, your friendly personality, any generous gifts, your past track records, your performance in other courses you are taking, or what any other teacher may have told you.  The fact that you have had “A’s” in ALL of your previous math courses does NOT guarantee an “A” in this course.

  • Students will have opportunities to gain points on Homework, Class Participation, Possible Quizzes, Possible Team-Practices, Chapter/Unit Tests and the Final Exam.
  • In general, I do NOT assign extra credit assignments; however, there may be projects assigned, as special Homework Assignments.  Do NOT ask for extra credits.


Approximate Point Distribution (by category):

  • (10%)  Class participation
  • (20%)  Homework (collected intermittently)
  • (10%)  Quizzes and Team-Practices – Quizzes may be sometimes given on the material presented that day, for a quick check-for-understanding.  Team-Practices are opportunities for students to work in a team environment and prepare for the upcoming chapter/unit test.  They will be worth various points.
  • (60%)  TESTS will be worth various points:  Chapter/Unit Tests (40%) & Final Exam (20%).


IMPORTANT NOTE:  In general, 20% of the overall grade is reserved for the Final Exam.  Therefore, it is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT to take the Final Exam very seriously.


Letter Grade Assignment:

  • Your grade will be based on your percentage of the total possible points (by category) according to the following scale:

90.0% – 100% = A

80.0% – 89.9% = B

70.0% – 79.9% = C

60.0% – 69.9% = D

Below 60% = F




  • In general, I do NOT round grades up.  However, for students who have shown extra effort, by attending and actively participating during the Enrichment Sessions, on a fairly regular basis, I often consider rounding their grades up ONLY IF they fall within 0.9% of the higher grade.
    • For example, I may round 79.3% up to a “B”, if the student meets the requirements stated above.


Make-Up Policy


  • HOMEWORK:  If you have an excused absence on the day I collected homework, you do NOT get any extra time to complete your work.  It is YOUR responsibility to remember to turn your homework, to me, at the beginning of the next session or you will get a zero.  I will not pursue you.
  • QUIZZES and TEAM-PRACTICES:  If you miss a quiz or a team-practice, there is no make-up!  Those points will NOT be counted for or against you.
  • PARTICIPATION:  If you are absent, you will not gain any participation points.  Those points will NOT be counted for or against you.
    • If you miss any Chapter/Unit Test or the Final Exam and your absence is an excused one, YOU MUST SEND ME AN EMAIL, ON THE SAME DAY to arrange for a make-up test.   Tests can be made up either during the next class period OR during Enrichment and after school.  You MUST arrange a time that works for the teacher. 
    • If you miss any Chapter/Unit Test or the Final Exam, and your absence is NOT an excused one, or if you were absent due to ANY suspension assigned by ANYONE, you WILL automatically receive a zero and no make-up test will be given to you.


Course Expectations


  • Be on time:  Be in the room, in your assigned seat, ready to work before the bell rings.  Remain seated, at all times, during class.  Every time you have an unexcused (non-school-related) tardy or lateness, you will lose half of your daily participation points.  If you are tardy or late more than three times, to this class, during each semester, you will receive a referral for each occurrence.
  • Show your work:  Unless you are told otherwise, you MUST show all of your step-by-step work on all assignments, projects, quizzes, and tests in order to get the full credit.  If I cannot read your handwriting, I will NOT be able to give you the points you deserve and you will lose points.  Please write legibly!
  • Be Prepared:  Bring all the required material to all class meetings.  During quizzes and exams, you will NOT be allowed to borrow anything from anyone else.
  • Be Respectful:  Show respect to your teacher, your classmates, visitors, TA’s, substitute teachers, and most importantly to yourself.
  • Follow Instructions:  Adhere to ALL school policies, teacher’s instructions, classroom rules and policies at ALL times.
    • EXTREMELY IMPORTANT:  If you are in violation of the school dress code policy, you MUST report yourself to the office BEFORE you come to my class.  If you fail to do so, when I get notified by the office, in addition to getting consequences for a dress code violation, you will get a referral from me.
  • Electronics
    • You do NOT have my permission to possess and/or use any electronic device, capable of recording, in my classroom. 
    • Turn your cell phones, iPods, iPads, mp3’s, Airpods, Smart Watches, Smart Glasses, and all other electronics off AND put them in your backpacks (not in your pockets, on your chairs, or on your desks) when you are in this class.  If you violate this policy, I will confiscate your device; will turn it into the office; and will give you a zero for that day’s participation points. 
    • If the violation occurs during a quiz/test, you will automatically get a zero on that quiz/test, and I will refer you to the office for the maximum allowable consequence.
  • Calculators:  We will use non-graphing* scientific calculators, for this course.  You may NOT at any time use the calculator feature of your cell phone OR your watch.
  • Pencils:  Unless you are told otherwise, you MUST use a pencil to do your homework, quizzes, team-practices, chapter/unit tests, and the final exam.  I will NOT grade them if you use a pen and you may get a zero.
  • Be honorable:  Do your own work!  If you cheat, I will give you a zero for your work AND I will refer you to the office, for the maximum allowable consequence.  (See the Academic Honesty Policy handout for more detail).
  • Other Subjects: 
    • If you work on other subjects during your math class (without my specific and prior permission), I will take it away from you and will NOT return it to you.
    • If other teachers confiscate your math work during their class, and notify me or turn it in to me, you will get a zero for that work.
    • If you let another student borrow your math work, regardless of the reason, and another teacher confiscates your work during his/her class, and notify or turn it in to me, you will get a zero for that work.




Extra Assistance


  • In this course, I expect you to do all of your own work, at all times.  I highly encourage you to form Study Groups with your classmates, to meet in the evenings and/or on the weekends.


  • If/when you need my assistance, I invite you to come to my daily Enrichment Sessions, whenever possible.  Additionally, you can often catch me in the morning before school begins, during snack, at lunch, or even after school, in my classroom.
    • In order to be fair to ALL students, I will not answer any questions on the day of the exam.  Additionally, in case I teach the same course on both odd and even days, and when there is a test scheduled for both days, at my own discretion, I may not answer any questions for the students taking the exam on the second of the two test days.


  • Furthermore, once a week, if I have a non-mandatory After-School Study Hall Session, I encourage you to take full advantage of it.  I will provide you with a separate handout, in the near future.


  • The format of my daily Enrichment Sessions and my After-School Study Hall Sessions is one of collaborative and cooperative discourse/inquiry, where you and your subject-mates will work together, with minimal assistance from me.  This way you will learn to be independent of me and more self-reliant.  I am there to provide whatever assistance I deem necessary!


In addition to being your teacher, I am offering you my partnership.  I am here to support you!  Take advantage of it and do NOT wait until it is too late!


I do often reply to emails, if I catch them in time.  However, your first point of contact should always be one or both of your classroom partners, in case you miss something.


RECOMMENDATION LETTERS:  If you are in need of a recommendation letter from me, or if you need me to complete a school referral form, please be sure to give them to me AT LEAST one week in advance.  Do NOT expect me to accommodate you immediately, as I often need time to gather the required information.







I acknowledge that I have read and have fully understood Mr. Ghavam’s Course Description and Policies/Course Syllabus and will adhere to the content, at all times:



Name:                                                                                                        Period:                                    


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